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A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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"What emerges from this book is the portrait of a thoroughly nice woman. Her exceptional qualities have led her to achievements that her readers can scarcely imagine. But she still remains touchingly connected to that ordinary girl from Norfolk. It's a winning combination."
---Jane Shilling, The Daily Mail
"What amazes me about Chrissie Wellington is not that she wins, but by how much...Like Usain Bolt, Wellington has burst on to the scene and destroyed the opposition. Those within athletics said that Bolt was coming but Wellington came from nowhere and wins by a relatively greater margin."
---James Cracknell, two time Olympic gold medalist, and adventurer
"Empowering and suitably commemorative."
About the Author
Chrissie Wellington is a quadruple World Ironman Champion (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011). Prior to her athletic career, she worked for the UK Government (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Defra) as an advisor on international development policy.
Top customer reviews
As much a story about pursuing dreams and the sacrifices necessary to make them happen, as it is a story about athletic achievement, Chrissie takes us on a guided tour of a life lived in direct opposition to cubicles, committee meetings and the silent desperation of a well-meaning advocate for the developing world. Despite all of the earmarks of an effective bureaucrat working to improve the lives of developing populations throughout the world, Chrissie took up triathlon at a relatively late age and became dominant within the sport's Ironman idiom within a brief period of time. The agony of her transition into formal training - as much mentally and emotionally taxing as physically - virtually bleeds through the pages. We are left with a clear vision of what it takes to be a champion triathlete which, for aspiring endurance athletes, raises as many questions as it answers. Of course, Chrissie is no ordinary triathlete (oxymoron aside)... she is undefeated in her Ironman distance races. The mere fact of her triumphs would be remarkable: That she has overcome a long shopping list of injury and ailments that would cause mere mortals to hang up their aeros long ago makes for compelling narrative. For the athlete, Chrissie's tale is both cautionary and boundlessly inspiring. However, the inspiration extends to all endeavors and poses a challenge to everyone to simply reject their largely self-imposed constraints and to seek out excellence. In short, this is a great read for anyone seeking a well-constructed pep talk. Yes... add "excellent writer" to Chrissie's bold CV.
Sadly, the book serves as a coda for Chrissie's remarkable career - having announced her retirement from Ironman competition earlier this year. Armed with the heightened profile of a legendary athlete, Chrissie seems poised to "coin" her celebrity for the benefit of the developing world (as she has done throughout her spectacular career). Silently, however, I hope that this book is rendered somewhat obsolete with her return to Ironman someday. Such decisions lie solelywith the great lady herself. As it is, the book focuses attention not only on the sport of triathlon, but leaves one curious about the leading exponents of the women's game such as Leanda Cave and up-and-coming wunderkind Angela Naeth. On this level, the book serves the sport and its fan base exceptionally well.
Endurance athletes may grumble that many of the technical details are lacking. Even I was left to wonder just what went into the transition from competitive local swimmer to undefeated Ironman triathlete over so short a period of time. Were this book intended exclusively for triathletes, that might be a legitimate complaint. Those "missing" details would likely result in a 1000 page monster that none but the most fanatical practitioners would find comprehensible, much less enjoyable. Such matters are best left to coaching, should Ms. Wellington elect to do so. For the purposes of personal narrative literature, this book is infinitely enjoyable and left me anxious to get to my next training run.
I highly recommend "A Life Without Limits"!
All that being said, I was waiting with Shakespeare's famous bated breath for Chrissie's book, and after reading it I'm even more admiring of the ordinary girl from Norfolk than I was. We all suspected she was an ordinary human, despite a triathlon career befitting a Marvel costumed character, and reading her telling of her own tale is inspirational, exciting, sometimes shocking, and completely compelling. Yes, she had what seemed to be hidden talents, but this is a driven woman, and she enjoys the drive. Her encouragement to always look beyond your perceived limits is truly inspiring, but also shows wisdom. Nothing can be accomplished if it is not attempted, and Chrissie Wellington's story is one of a person willing to make attempts without accepting any limitations. This might not even work for everyone, but it's a grand book to read about someone who did it and succeeded beyond what anyone thought was possible. Certainly in the triathlon world there is only one Chrissie Wellington and there is likely to only ever be one. Bravo to Chrissie for writing such an honest and heartfelt life story at such a relatively young age.
Her pursuit to excel in her personal and professional life is what has molded her into the perfect competitor. Self-driven and self-motivated from a very young age, she's championed herself and never let anyone hold her back from pursuing what she wants. It's an incredible life journey and quite an inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to do something but didn't because of the limits we place on ourselves.